Browsing Tag

Still Life



Well, flights have been booked and plans are being finalized.  I am looking to travel 22,000 miles in 22 days this holiday season.  I love to travel, and am very excited, and also very nervous about the journey ahead of me.

Travels plans include large chunks of the United States, and culminate in a journey to my childhood home of South Africa.  I haven’t been to South Africa since I moved to the States 18 years ago.  I have always been a fan of the phrase “home is where the rump rests”, now that I am am a mom, it is where my family is, where my partner and my son are, that is home for me.  However I will be traveling to see my far flung family, and also getting to experience my birth country, as an adult.

it’s exciting to think about.

It’s scary to think about.

I will be traveling to South Africa solo, arriving in Africa before New Years Eve.  I am eaving behind my wonderful partner and our precious son, but meeting up with my sister and brother.  My sister will be traveling from South Korea to meet up with us, and I am so ecstatic to see her, it has been a year. It will also be the first time I have been away from our son.   I know it will be a wonderful trip and our son will be safe and happy.  I will miss the goober alot though, and miss having my partner to ground me and appreciate my quirks.  It will be the first time I have been a single entity, and not a “we” in over a year.

I know I will take lots and lots of photos.

Travelling is always an amazing opportunity to reconnect with the universal core of humankind and discover some more of this amazing world we live in.  I believe firmly that traveling to far away places makes you a better person.   I am looking forward to seeing many new and wonderful things, and spending time with my extended family.  I will be spending the holidays with my American family members, both my mother and my soon to be in laws.  In South Africa I will be reconciling with my father, and his new family.  Just think, brothers and sisters I have never met.  Laughs I have never heard, quirks I have never seen.

It is all exciting, and nerve wracking at the same time.

I cannot wait to come back and have a show and tell.

This week, as I pondered the trips ahead, and the many different people I will be spending time with, I wanted to take a moment and enjoy the simple things around me.  Afternoons have been spent walking with my son, picking up leaves, enjoying the last of the warm weather, and realizing that there is an adventure to be had in our very own back yard.

These pictures are about realizing the simple pleasures around us.  The beauty of changing leaves, and changing seasons.  The last of the hibiscus blooms, the decorative gourds for the season.  The luxury of simple sunny afternoons with giggles.  It’s a gift to be able to appreciate the simplest things, without ever traveling more than a few feet from home.  I hope it helps me on my journey, to see the depth and beauty in far away places with greater appreciation.  

For right now, I am enjoying the now, the simple things that are familiar, so I can appreciate the new things to come.  :)


Food Photos


Last Sunday we finally got a chance to shoot the Garlic Clove Foods products in their cooked/prepared versions. In the photo up above are the grains out of the packages and placed into a light box. The photos below were taken in Dean and Amy’s backyard.

We arrived at 10:30 and immediately started shooting. We were outdoors in the backyard and we didn’t use anything but natural light for the food. I know – us, using natural light! Crazy huh? Actually – as much as it seems like I don’t like natural light photographers – I just don’t like the ones who don’t know how to work with the sun and instead use it as an ‘excuse’ to create bad photos rather than a light source… but that’s a whole other rant.

For most of the shoot there were clouds hanging around which did a great job of diffusing the light just enough to power down the sun but still create nice shadows on the table. Now you can always push enough light to get rid of all shadows and make a really clean photo – but with food that’s not what I want. I don’t want it completely ‘clean’ because it doesn’t necessarily look sterile, but it adds that sterile feeling – and I don’t want food photos to look or feel sterile.

Of course you can’t have a big messy plate of food just plopped down with a spoon. But you can warm up the photo and give it context and set it down in a setting where it looks like it would actually be eaten – and not just a white background with some glowing soft light. Of course, I like to photograph people so maybe I’m just completely out of my realm here and shouldn’t be saying anything at all.


This is a wide shot of Leah helping me test out our light setup for when we shot Dean and Amy with their kids. Since I’m mostly a strobist photographer – here’s the strobist info:

  • Sun diffused through clouds in the upper left
  • Umbrella’d 285hv camera right (you can see the tip of the umbrella)
  • a bare Vivitar 2600 in the back right corner – that’s what’s lighting up the side of Leah’s face


Aside from all of the technical light stuff you normally have to worry about when making photographs – with food it’s even more important that you get a good composition with interesting lines, shapes, and textures. All of those.

And I didn’t just want to shoot the same 3/4 circle-plate overhead shot. You know what I’m talking about. The ones that started out as artsy but is now food-photos-by-numbers.

Yeah. I didn’t want to just get those shots – and when I did, I always tried to add some other items that would just barely edge into the photo. Sure you want to emphasize the specific dish – but not if it’s an uninteresting photo. Because then you end up with a photo that focuses on the product but that no one gives a second thought. Of course – there are examples where this is just wrong.

We have to admit – we’re not food stylist and we probably couldn’t have cooked all of the food to make it look anywhere near as delicious. That’s all Amy’s doing and she did a great job.  Sure, we moved plates, silverware, and glass – but come on, if the food looked bad… it would take a lot more work. I’m not saying that it would be impossible – because I’m pretty confident we can make most objects look good – but a lot of the work in the cooked food photos was already done for us.


Since this was all real food and not just pretend food – we all sat down to lunch afterwards.

Still. Here comes November and more photo shoots.